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BBQ Tandoori Chicken Perfect Indian Chicken!

BBQ tandoori chicken is as close as you will get to real Indian chicken cooked in a tandoor, the fiercely hot temperatures are the secret!

Combined with my simple tandoori marinade this dish is the perfect way to turn up your summer BBQ game!

Portrait image of a BBQ tandoori chicken drumstick with surrounded by out of focus chicken

Grilled Tandoori Chicken, the Very Best Way to Cook it!

Traditionally tandoori chicken is cooked in a wood-fired clay “oven” called a tandoor.

They reach insane temperatures approaching 480°C or 900°F.

It is that insane dry heat that gives a good tandoori chicken its distinct flavour and characteristics.

You can get part of the way with boneless chicken but using a grill or broiler. I use this approach in my murgh makhani recipe.

But that really does not cut it with larger pieces of bone-in chicken.

But many of you have some kit that can get closer than your oven… A BBQ!

Portrait image of kachumber salad in a jar with out of focus tandoori chicken behind it

Cooking Tandoor Recipes On The Barbecue.

The secret to perfect grilled tandoori chicken is to get that barbecue as hot as you can.

It is the same idea behind the way that I cook pizza on the BBQ.

I get the temperature of my BBQ up towards 350-400°C or 650-750°F.

To do this you need to keep all of the BBQ vents open at all times. This sucks through lots of air.

You do however need to create two cooking zones, if you put your chicken over the direct coals you will get charcoal.

This is exactly the same process that I use to cook my tandoori fish.

You can also cook chicken tikka and naan bread in this fierce heat.

Portrait close up image of a BBQ tandoori chicken drumstick with surrounded by out of focus chicken

Serving Suggestions and Leftovers.

This recipe is a rare offering from me that serves 4 people rather than two.

Although it is a challenge not to eat the whole chicken as it tastes so damn good.

I tend to try and save the boneless breast pieces and use them in my chicken tikka masala recipe on day 2.

They also make a fantastic sandwich!

When it comes to side dishes I tend to stick with a kachumber salad and possibly a mint raita.

Square image image of a bbq tandoori chicken
Yield: 4 Servings

BBQ Tandoori Chicken Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Marinade Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 25 minutes

This recipe takes a whole chicken and breaks it down to form the most incredibly glorious meal, nothing short of a Tandoor oven cooks tandoori chicken quite like a BBQ!


  • 1.2kg (2.5 lb) Whole Chicken
  • Pinch of Chat Masala

For the Marinade:

  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2-3 Tsp Kashmiri Chili Powder
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 100 g (3.5 oz) Plain Yoghurt
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 30 g (1 oz) Ginger
  • 1 Tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 Tsp Turmeric
  • 1 Tsp Ground Cumin


  1. Break down the chicken into drumsticks, thighs, wings, breasts and chicken tenders.
  2. Cut the chicken breasts into 3 pieces.
  3. Peel the garlic and ginger and place in a blender with the salt.
  4. Blend to a smooth paste and then transfer to a large bowl.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients for the marinade and mix well.
  6. Throw in the chicken and massage the mix marinade into the meat.
  7. Cover the bowl with film and then place in the fridge for at least 4 hours, you can leave it for up to 24.
  8. Get your BBQ as hot as you can, making sure you have both a direct and indirect heat zone.
  9. Place the chicken thighs and drumsticks in the indirect heat zone and cook for 10 minutes.
  10. After 10 minutes add the wings and cook for 20 minutes.
  11. Finally, add the chicken breast pieces and the chicken tenders and cook for 25 minutes.
  12. Check that the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 74°C or 165°F.
  13. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes and sprinkle with a pinch of chat masala before serving.


Tandoori chicken usually gets its distinct red colour from either flavourless colouring beetroot powder. I do not do add colouring to my recipes unless it adds flavour!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 700Total Fat: 40gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 284mgSodium: 875mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 74g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

Karen Chan-Lok

Sunday 24th of May 2020

Hi, recipe sounds delicious! Why do you mention kashmiri chilli powder twice in the ingredients? Thank you

Brian Jones

Monday 1st of June 2020

Ah, thanks for noticing that, it is a throwback to an older version of the recipe where I used a two-stage marinade, I have combined it now into one :)

Jacqueline Debono

Tuesday 8th of May 2018

I love tandoori and yours sounds amazing! Interesting about the red colour. I didn't know that!

Brian Jones

Wednesday 9th of May 2018

Thank you!

Julie @ Running in a Skirt

Tuesday 8th of May 2018

I bet the flavor on this is incredible! I love bbq tandoori together-- sooo good! I bet it would be a hit at a party.

Brian Jones

Wednesday 9th of May 2018

It definitely always goes down a storm.


Thursday 3rd of May 2018

These spices sounds perfect for this dish! Full of flavor! And I love the use of yogurt! I’d love to try this instead of my usual chicken recipe I make! :)

Brian Jones

Friday 4th of May 2018

Yoghurt is pretty much an Indian marinade essential :)


Saturday 10th of September 2016

Hello! Red Velvet Cake anyone? I agree with you about added color. Color does influece taste perception ... but still. Anyway, with chicken, I think the red is misplaced. Red is not a good color for chicken. Yours looks firely and delicious.

Brian Jones

Monday 12th of September 2016

Cheers Jeff, I can honestly say I have never tried red velvet cake but in all fairness I don't have much of a sweet tooth and rarely bake at home.

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